This Is How To Do Napa In A Weekend – Your Welcome.

How can you possibly see all there is to see in Napa in a weekend?  Well you can't. Like trying to see the entire Louvre museum in a day – It's just not possible.  In order to fully grasp the magnitude of this thriving valley you need at least five days – and even then you are barely scratching the surface. With more than 450 wineries, world class dining, art, shopping and award winning spas, it takes more than a couple days to even begin to get a feel for this dynamic valley. But give me 48 hours and I can get you close. 

For the food and wine traveler looking to escape – no lose themselves – for a couple days, in stunning scenery, vibrant flavors, and a world devoted to the senses  and "The World's Best Wine and Food Destination", (as awarded by Trip Advisor's 2010 Travelers' Choice Awards) – behold, I present to you your itinerary for an unforgettable weekend in Napa.

Stay: Westin Hotel – There are of course several luxury hotels tucked into hillsides throughout the valley, but the pure convenience of the Westin makes this hotel a winner.  The open, fresh and modern hotel with friendly and accommodating service is centrally located and walking distance to downtown Napa

Day 1

  1. Walk 100 paces from the Westin to the Napa Valley Wine Train Tour: 10:30-2:30. Have lunch and view the vast Napa Valley countryside on board the opulent Orient Express like locomotive.  The 3-hour train ride passes through some of the most expensive and famous farm real estate in the country.

A thirty-six mile round trip journey from Napa to St. Helena and back, through beautiful and historic wineries, Executive Chef Kelly Macdonald, designs a gourmet lunch menu that changes seasonally, sourcing ingredients locally and sustainably. You will see the entire valley – bottom to top, learn its history, dine on a delicious lunch and stretch your legs in less than half a day.

2. The Conn Creek Barrel Blending Experience – one of my all time favorite excursions. The Conn Creek's 'Barrel Blending Experience' is a one-of-a-kind, unique interactive experience where you get to play winemaker for the day, selecting, blending, bottling and corking, even designing a handmade label for your very own bottle of wine - which you can then take home or have shipped wherever you like.  Besides the fact that the Bottle Blending Experience is super fun, creative and tremendously informative, it's also one of the best general wine education courses you can get in under two Conn Creek Winery does it masterfully.

3. Dinner: A short walk over the bridge of the Napa River to Oenotri Restaurant gives you a chance to slow down, absorb the day and watch the sun set.  The casual eatery feels more San Fran than downtown Napa with its buzzing scene and industrial feel.  The food is simple, tasty and well executed. A daily-changing menu of rustic dishes built around the freshest local product available with a Southern Italian emphasis -dinner here is delicious, fun and refreshing.

Day 2

  1. Breakfast: Oxbow Publix Market – walking distance from the Westin along the Napa Valley River Trail, the Oxbow Publix Market swarms in the early morning hours with locals who know where the best coffee is served – Ritual Coffee Roasters brews up a mean cappuccino – just what one needs to clear the cabernet cobwebs. This market place offers some of the best-of-the-best of Napa's culinary artisans all in one place. Order your breakfast then stroll through the market while you're waiting – from chocolatier, charcuterie, distillery, spices, gifts and more you'll get a glimpse of some of the Valley's tremendous talents besides making wine.
  2. 9:00am -1:00  a 15 minute drive to the Yountville takes you to the meeting spot for the Napa valley Bike Tour. The tour is a ½ day bike excursion through the Valley visiting 2-3  world-renowned wineries such as Clos Du Val, Silver Oak, Trefethen, Groth, MUM as well as boutique and family owned wineries. Biking through the valley gives you a rare and memorable opportunity to experience the valley at a slower, more deliberate pace – giving you an organic feel for the terroir, locals, and scenery.
  3. Grab lunch in Yountville, the epicenter for world class dining in Napa Valley. From Bouchon, French Laundry, Redd, Bistro Jeanty, Bottega, Mustard's and so much more, you'll be hard pressed to leave hungry.                                                               4. Head to Stag's Leap Wine Cellars to experience the new 7 million dollar, state-of-the-art FAY Outlook and Visitor Center overlooking the Stag's Leap estate vineyards.  Using extensive glass in the design, the new space is bright with natural light allowing visitors to witness the changes that seasons and climate have on the vines.

5. Dinner at Meadowood – a true gastronomique masterpiece, this Michelin 3 star restaurant, is the dining experience among dining experiences – anywhere in the world.  An intimate dining room, refined, elegant and uber chic, you are in for an exquisite and unforgettable meal.  Order the seasonal tasting menu and savor the flavors of Napa. Sourced from hyper local farms, the cuisine tells the story of life in the Valley. This culinary finale is the perfect way to end your weekend in Napa.